How to cardio without running? Fitness routines for people who don’t like to run
Cardio is one of the components of your fitness program that can not be substituted for any other form of training. It is a type of workout most readily associated with jogging, running, and treadmills. It is proven to have results, it increases your stamina, lowers stress hormones, revamps circulation and helps with keeping your heart healthy. Running accelerates your metabolism like no other form of exercise, and at the same time lowers your blood sugar and cholesterol.
Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the working muscle tissue, which then uses that oxygen to produce the energy needed for movement. It sounds simple and straight forward, but as with any general definition is does not take into consideration that the ability of a person to deliver oxygen to the body is subject to several physiological criteria such as heart rate, maximum cardiac output, body mass or lung capacity.
In other words, not all people are similarly equipped for the task.
That may very well be the reason why some of us hate running or feel like this type of training is not for them. For others, the problems can take on a more medical approach. Running can put serious stress on your muscles and joints, and people with previous injuries or joint problems may be reluctant to choose this form of training. Or maybe they just need to diversify or give their body a break from high impact aerobic.
So what should you do when running just isn't for you?
Low-impact cardio workouts
Let’s just start with this. Concentrating your fitness routine around low impact exercises doesn't mean you are not going to sweat. Low-impact does not mean low effort. These exercises are not an excuse to train less but to train differently.
If executed correctly they can result in very high-calorie burns. Some deliver the same, if not better, results than running, while others are more practical and more easy on your body. An important trait of any cardio workout is that the number of endorphins it generates helps you feel better, concentrate and improve your overall mental state. So cardio training is very important to ‘getting the day out of you’ and focus on the next step on your path to a better self. Clearing your mind is one of the benefits all cardio workouts should have.
Elliptical trainerFor the enthusiast gym-goer, the best and most accessible solution lies right in front of his eyes.
If taking the stress off your legs and joints is the reason you want to give up on running, this alternative assures a very customizable and equally high effort alternative.
The Elliptical trainer simulates climbing and makes you work against gravity in a gliding motion, which makes it seem a somewhat softer training routine compared to running. But the reality could not be further from the truth.
If you use some weights instead of holding on to the handles, you can get a good intense core workout out of this complete workout machine. There are a lot of exercises specifically designed to be used on elliptical trainers, so your workouts can remain engaging for quite some time. With a 30 minute elliptical workout, you can target your entire body while working on getting your heart rate up. It is one of the best and intense replacement workouts to use for people that can't count on running as one of their options.
SwimmingSwimming is an almost complete exercise regimen. This workout helps with increasing your stamina, increase lung capacity and building lean muscles. And it does so with the lowest amount of pressure on your joints. This is by far the most intense form of low-impact exercise you could ever use, with 369 to 587 calories burned per hour depending on your body weight and swimming pace. It’s only drawbacks constitute its dependency on the proper facilities and on your ability to swim, though you can learn the latter very quickly.
The density of water creates resistance for objects moving through it. So the only weight, your body has to fight, is yours. Unlike running, where each step makes you touch the ground with more force than the natural weight of your body, swimming strokes use resistance to create propulsion, but this same resistance also generates drag offering you the perfect natural counterweight.
Though not as versatile as the elliptic workout, swimming will make you forget all about running and provide you with enough burned calories to supplement or surpass, any cardio alternative you may have used in the past.
CyclingThis cardio workout is by far the weapon of choice for most people that can’t integrate running into their daily routine. Cycling is a great way to improve on the cardio component of your fitness routine because it is a calorie-burning juggernaut disguised as a practical or leisure activity. You can use a bicycle to commute, go for off-road rides over the weekend, or use a stationary bike at home, or at the gym.
Subsequently, there is no matching the versatility and downright benefits of cycling.
It is even estimated that pedaling on your bicycle burns more calories than casual swimming.
Cycling is an extremely beneficial aerobic fitness routine which, like running, you can employ over medium to long distances. That only serves to heighten the level of return you get from your physical activity be it recreational or utilitarian.
Due to their limited impact on joints, stationary bikes are used in recovering patients as a suitable exercise for rehabilitation, particularly for lower limb injury.
If you are looking for a great cardio solution or something that can substitute running in your workout routines, you should seriously consider cycling. It will deliver great results and its darn right fun.
For people that are not interested in matching or surpassing the calorie-burning effect of running, but still, want a decent and engaging cardio workout complemented by meditation, there is no better option than Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that concentrates on two primary components: the first being taolu, a sequence of movements that emphasize meditation, a straight back, breathing and a natural range of motion. The second component is the practical self-defense aspect that focuses on mastering different styles of tuishou ("pushing hands") and applying the movement principles of the form with a partner.
As a form of fitness routine that brings together physical movement and meditation, Tai Chi is easy to adopt by people that want a low impact exercise, that alternates relaxed poses with the dynamic action of tuishou. Granted, this not an exercise that will help you burn a lot of calories but depending on the time and effort you put into mastering it, its techniques will provide you with the right amount of aerobic training. It is great for beginners and the meditation aspect will help you keep a cool and collected state of mind to help you overcome all obstacles.
Rowing machineThe underrated gym equipment of the century, the rowing machine is one of the most efficient cardio equipment ever produced. People tend to overlook it because it seems complicated to use compared to elliptic trainers or stationary bikes. However, used properly, the rowing machine can pay great dividends. Replicating a rowing motion means you will only have to deal with as much intensity as you put into it.
That means that the impact on your joints and muscles will be minimal. The Rowing machine is an intense way to work out your core, arms, back, and legs at the same time, at your own pace. It could be an endurance training or a fast interval one with both perfectly able to raise your heart rate levels for one of the best aerobic, low impact, exercises you can engage in.
Rowing machines don’t have weights that you can attach to increase intensity. Instead, they use dampers. Dampers do not effect resistance as they do in other fitness machines, but they do affect the amount of drag, so try to start your way lower and go for longer distances for a full cardio routine that will rival any run or jog.
If for whatever reason running is not on your list of cardio fitness routines, you can try any of the solutions recommended here. As with all cardio exercises is best to use apps, or gadgets, that can keep track of your heart rate at all times. And while they do that, you can use the time you put into your cardio routines to keep track of your thoughts, clear your head, and work on staying positive and focused.
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